Schmigadoon!'s Jaime Camil Hints at a Second Magical Season "Gifted ... by the Heavens"

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Jaime Camil is a familiar face to many, probably best known for his outlandish and outstanding portrayal of Rogelio De La Vega, Jane's father, on Jane the Virgin.

But if you didn't catch any of his 99 episodes of that show, close your eyes and let yourself be transported by his voice, which is featured in animated shows on both TV and cinema, from the rebooted Ducktales to The Secret Life of Pets.

Currently, Camil is causing hearts to flutter on Apple TV+'s musical sensation Schmigadoon! as the sultry, flawed, but suddenly infatuated Doc Lopez.

Doc Lopez the Younger - Schmigadoon! Season 1 Episode 4

Speaking with Camil via Internet on a recent virtual press day, we asked about how he felt about having a role written specifically with him in mind. (We learned this when we interviewed Cinco Paul, the show's creator and showrunner.)

"Oh my god, I learned that later. His kindness and how generous he is is just beyond belief.

"I did a voice for The Secret Lives of Pets, and when we were at the premiere, he was standing next to me, and he was all, 'Hi!' -- he's very nice -- 'I love you in Jane the Virgin,' and I'm like, 'Thank you so much, amazing, you should come to the set.'

"So we became friends. And then he saw me in Chicago, and then he went to Mamma Mia, and he knew about my musical theatre history. So he was kind enough to write this for me, and I'm beyond grateful."

Hand in Hand - Schmigadoon! Season 1 Episode 4

Doc Lopez's relationship with Cecily Strong's Melissa is an homage to that of Captain Von Trapp and Maria in The Sound of Music, echoed most strongly in their Laendler-like dance in the town square.

Did Camil reference Christopher Plummer's performance as Captain Von Trapp at all when preparing for the role?

"Of course, the storyline is from The Sound of Music, obviously. That was the only thing I knew. Actually, I don't think Doc Lopez is so much based on him. It's more like the storyline behind Doc Lopez, not so much him.

"I don't like to watch references or study others because I think that's a way to block the [creativity] of where the character could go and then you might arrive on set with a preconception on how to play someone.

"It's why we have directors and great showrunners to guide you in the right direction."

As Ann Harada mentioned when TV Fanatic spoke with her, the musical theatre community is quite tight-knit. Camil also found a familiar face when he arrived in Schmigadoon.

"Dove Cameron played my daughter in Mamma Mia. I played Sam Carmichael, who we all know is The Dad. Not the other ones. But yeah, she was my daughter. And I think that's it. She was the only one that I have worked with before."

COVID-19 protocols meant that scenes had to be filmed with only essential performers and crew on set. Camil, being a huge fan of musical theatre and a performer, found this terribly disappointing.

"It was really frustrating because I love these humans, and they're so talented. I wanted to be present when Ariana DeBose did the incredible musical number in the classroom. I'm like, 'I want to be there!' I wanted to see it as a fan, of course.

"Or when NATIONAL TREASURE, Kristen Chenoweth, did the continuous shot of 'Tribulation and Strife,' I wanted to be there on set, right? But we couldn't!

"But we adhered to COVID protocols. We kept everyone safe which is the most important thing. But that was a little frustrating without a doubt. It was frustrating, to say the least."

Much of Camil's frustration was with how AMAZING his castmates were. After all, not only does he get to romance Cecily Strong but Jane Krakowski arrives on Schmigadoon! Season 1 Episode 5 to fight for his love.

"When I saw the [cast] list, I'm like, 'This is your wishlist, right? Like, this is your dream cast.' They're like, 'No, they're actually all gonna be attached to the show.' I'm like, 'WHAT?!?'

"Yeah, you know, some projects you do, some projects you work on, and then you have projects that are gifted to you by the heavens, and that was Schmigadoon!"

The Lovely Couple - Schmigadoon! Season 1 Episode 5

Camil felt that he was destined for show business from the beginning, but he had to wait until he was older to set out on his path.

"[I didn't start] as a child because my dad was a businessman, and he really wanted me to pursue business, so I was very scared to tell him, 'No, I want to be an actor.'

"My mom was a Brazilian singer and painter, so I had the artistic thing through the umbilical cord, which is very difficult to deny, right?

"I started in Mexico, doing Westside Story, El Diluvio Que Viene (The Coming Flood). And then I did Hook, and I did Aladdin, and I did a bunch of other plays in Mexico.

"Then I was going to be in the original cast of The Mambo Kings, but we never got to open unfortunately on Broadway, and then I did Chicago and Mamma Mia and Latinologues on Broadway. Being on stage is what makes me the happiest."

Schmigadoon is a town filled with archetypal characters from musical theatre. Could Camil see himself playing any of the other residents?

"I don't know because I think Schmigadoonians, we are all very -- that's the right way to refer to us by the way, please, please be politically correct, thank you -- I think that every single Schmigadoonian is very well defined.

"We all live in our own universe, and I think it is very well cast, to be honest. We are all perfect in each role."

In regards to dream roles, he's less Schmigadoon! and more Fleet Street, it seems.

"I'm kind of dark. I love Sweeney Todd for some reason. And I always wanted to do Sweeney Todd. I'm a junkie for scripts. I love scripts. So if a story is good, I will do it."

With the Schmigadoon! finale on the horizon, is Camil ready to bid farewell to this magical place? Or is there a possibility of a return journey? Hmmm?

"Ah, have you talked to Cinco Paul? You should. Because he has some great ideas, but I cannot elaborate on them because he'll probably kill me, and I don't want to die, and also I want to be in Season 2."

So there you go, Season 2 has NOT been ruled out, and plans are forming in Paul's wonderful brain. #SQUEE

While you await the curtain call on Season 1, be sure to check out our Schmigadoon! Reviews and interviews with Dove Cameron and Aaron Tveit, Cinco Paul and Cecily Strong, director Barry Sonnenfeld, and Ann Harada.

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Schmigadoon! Quotes

What, so one kick and, apparently, MAGIC?


Josh: I usually give it a kick.
Melissa: Oh, really?
Josh: Yeah. Right there. I could do it for you if you'd like.
Melissa: Nah, I've been doing all my own kicking since third grade.